Posted by Crista Cowan on December 10, 2009 in World Archives Project

The following post is from guest blogger Suzanne Russo Adams.  Suzanne is the Society Partnership Manager.

About a year ago, I made a phone call to Floyd Smith III, President of the Nebraska State Genealogical Society and asked if this society would be interested in partnering with the Ancestry World Archives Project to index several early Nebraska state censuses.  Floyd enthusiastically informed me that my call was a serendipitous event.  The society had just been looking at ways to digitize and index copies of the very same censuses.

At the same time, leadership in the Bismarck-Mandan Historical and Genealogical Society approached Anna Fechter about possible project sponsorships.  The Nebraska State Census project caught their attention as well.

Arrangements were quickly made for both groups to be among the first society partnership sponsors of active Ancestry World Archives Project collections.  Since then dozens of other societies have signed on to sponsor other projects, collectively rallying their memberships in the efforts of keying and arbitrating these valuable genealogical records.  Some of you may belong to one or more of these 30+ societies and are contributing on their behalf.  Thank you so much for your contributions!

Today I am excited to announce that thanks to your hard work and effort, and with special thanks to the members of the Nebraska and Bismarck societies, the Nebraska State Census, 1860-1885 collection, containing over 950,000 records, is now online.

“The Nebraska State Genealogical Society is thrilled to have had the chance to work with a team with such high, professional standards as those displayed at  It is with our combined vision that we were able to accomplish so much with very little resistance.  We are confident that the relationship we have fostered will prove to be mutually beneficial for years to come.  We are equally confident that current and future generations will continue to build upon the efforts and insight of both organizations.  Although the Nebraska State Census project has come to a close, we at the Nebraska State Genealogical Society are already looking forward to the next project.” (Floyd Smith III, President, Nebraska State Genealogical Society)

I want to take this opportunity to whole-heartedly thank the Nebraska State Genealogical Society and the Bismarck-Mandan Historical and Genealogical Society for their diligent participation and partnership.  This is the very first sponsored dataset to be released live on  As you can see, great things happen when forces combine to preserve and share records for generations to come.  I hope this leads to many more successful partnerships with other genealogical and historical societies.

To see the list of other Ancestry World Archives Project Partners click here.  For more information about partnering with us please contact us at

Note from Crista: Indexes for all projects keyed by the Ancestry World Archives Project community are available free to everyone.  Images for these projects are only available to current subscribers and active World Archives contributors.  (Contributors are considered active when they key or arbitrate 900 records or more every 90 days.)  Click here to learn more and become an Ancestry World Archives Project contributor today.

Crista Cowan

Crista has been doing genealogy since she was a child. She has been employed at since 2004. Around here she's known as The Barefoot Genealogist. Twitter


  1. Jerry Mainer

    This site is worthless. i can not find anything I need on this site. I try to look up a name and I get a name of someone else. Where is my moneys$$$$ worth??????

  2. Randall Davis

    Thank you very much for posting the images of the 1885 Nebraska State Census. I have anxiously awaited its release for several months.

  3. Kirk Sellman

    Maybe I should have clarified my comment better. When I try to bring up the 1885 Nebraska census in Family Tree Maker 2010, I get the following message: Error Processing Request

  4. Richard Odenweller

    Wonderful news. When will the search be integrated into the general search function. As of 12/13, you have to search using the above link. Records aren’t found using the general search. Also, I seem to have the same issue as Kirk. In FTM 2010, selecting a record (reached by cutting and pasting the above link in the search bar) found in Web Search results in the message “An error occurred while servicing your request. Please Try again.” in the search result detail pane.

  5. informative article. very helpful due to my Nebraska roots. thank you for being so willing to add new info. It is so appreciated and time-saving to users.

  6. holle! i would like to fine out if the two of the brothers nelson and the athere nelson is my cusien that was in the one of the nelson frist name isandrew .m from tn and the athere one edward and his brother frist name is george and thay are from will you help me out on this?thank you very much

  7. Kirk Sellman

    In, when I try to save a copy of a page to my computer, I only get the top half of the page.

  8. Mary Beth Marchant

    Big deal. The 1885 Nebraska state census has been posted on for several years. So Ancestry can pat itself on the back that there is a new dataset. Since they already owned it, why pretend it is something completely new. For shame.

  9. Andy Hatchett

    Mary Beth Re:# 9

    The big deal is that this census is using a completely new index created by Ancestry’s World Archives Project.

    Due to formatting differences, just because something is on one Ancestry site doesn’t mean it is an easy transfer to another format and site.

    The reason I am familiar with this particular census is because I was one of the people who helped create the index to it.

  10. Reed

    This might be really useful, but none of the actual images will load on my screen, in both search and browse modes.

    Using Mac OS 10.4 with Safari browser (and yes, I know Ancestry does not support Safari, but it has worked on all your previous data and image sets).

    C’mon, y’all. Do better.


  11. Ruth

    Like Reed, I, too, can’t pull up any images on this new database. I’ve received the usual suggestions from the help people: make sure active X is enabled, get the latest javascript, delete temporary files and cookies, etc. I’ve done the latter, which has resulted in losing my ability to get the Nebraska search box in the “old search” format. I’ve decided accessing this database isn’t worth the trouble it is going to cause me.

  12. Jack Hall

    This is a good start. We still birth record for many states and Puerto Rico. When will we some more European Counties (e.g. Hungary, Italy, Eastern Europe). Is there a was to merge duplicate facts?

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